Pregnancy App Article: "Monitoring baby movements"

Week 18
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Monitoring baby movements
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Finding a pattern
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Most pregnant women start to feel their baby move around 18 to 20 weeks of pregnancy - and it's really a truly amazing moment. 

If you've already had a baby you may recognise them earlier, and initially, these movements can vary a lot. Eventually they'll settle into a familiar pattern, which allows you to monitor them.

Because there's no average or 'normal' number of movements, the important thing is to establish what's usual for your particular pregnancy. 

If you feel something isn't right and that your baby isn't moving with the frequency you're used to, call your midwife so that you can get prompt, expert obstetric monitoring and care.

The importance of monitoring movements
Your baby's movements can be indicative of their wellbeing, so any change to the normal pattern can be a sign that something isn't right. That's not to say a change in movement automatically means something is wrong - but set your mind at rest by seeing a medical professional as soon as possible.

What counts as your baby moving?
Movements can be kicks, swooshes, punches, jabs, rolls, flips or turns (hiccups don't count).

How do you monitor your baby's movements?
You can print off a chart to track your baby's movements, and there are apps to download too. A helpful kick counter wrist band is also available, which lets you slide a marker along the band each time you feel your baby move.

The idea is to find out what's normal for your baby so you can recognise if the pattern of movement changes. So for the first week, make a note of your baby's movements each morning, for example. The next week, monitor movements during the afternoon and the following week, during the evening. (If your baby is the wriggle-all-night variety, then you could monitor night-time movements too - seeing as you're awake anyway.)

After a few weeks, you'll build up a pattern of your baby's movements and should become aware if this pattern changes.You'll also recognise triggers for your baby's movements, for example lying in a certain position, having a cold drink or driving your car.

Lots of women say that they notice their baby's movements once they themselves aren't moving - ie when they're sitting or lying down. This is useful if you become worried your baby isn't moving - you can use these known triggers to check that your baby reacts.

Trust your instincts - if something doesn't feel right to you, don't worry about wasting anyone's time or appearing neurotic, and contact your midwife or early pregnancy unit (EPU) immediately.
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I wore a kick-counting bracelet and this was the only reason I picked up that my baby's kicks had slowed down at 38 weeks. I had an infection and slight fever but it was enough to cause her distress.
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So many women do not want to bother anyone and so leave it 24-48 hours of reduced movement and by then it is just too late. Women feel they are fussing if they do ask for extra monitoring.
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I worry that I notice things like movement less with this pregnancy because I'm running around after my toddler - but I do know there are certain times of the day I feel like a human punchbag!
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